A Beginners' Guide to Property Conveyancing
Buying or selling a home can be a very stressful time, but it doesn’t need to be. If you have the guidance of an experienced and professional conveyancing solicitor, you will be in safe hands, enabling you to focus on everything else outside of the legal process.
We’ve written this beginner’s guide to the conveyancing process to give you a primer on what to expect when you want to buy or sell a property.
WHAT IS PROPERTY CONVEYANCING?
Conveyancing is a necessary process used in both the buying and selling of a property. A professional conveyancing solicitor can handle this process from start to finish by helping with the title transfer process and ensuring that all legal requirements are met, whilst protecting their rights throughout the transaction.
HOW LONG DOES CONVEYANCING TAKE?
In most cases, the conveyancing process for the purchase of a home will take between six and eight weeks, from start to finish. There may be cases where this duration is longer or shorter. Due to the number of variables in the conveyancing process, it can be difficult for a solicitor to give a precise answer when asked this question.
There are three stages to this process and they can be broken down into the following stages:
- Agreeing with the sale
- Exchange of contracts
- Completion of sale
It is important that you get the aid of a professional conveyancing solicitor when looking to start the process as this typically takes some time to complete.
STAGE 1 – AGREEING THE SALE
Once the sale of a property has been agreed, your solicitor will provide you with an information pack. This contains a set of legal forms that need to be completed and sent to the buyer’s solicitor as soon as possible. These packs contain all the information to move the sale of the property onto the next stage and include:
Property information form – This form (also known as a TA6) answers questions about your property and is filled out by the seller of the property. This helps to streamline the conveyancing process by outlining any fine details, such as neighbour disputes, planning applications and any work that has been done on the property.
Fixtures, fittings and contents form – This form (also known as a TA10) is completed by the seller to let buyers know of the contents of the house when it is being sold. This covers everything from boilers to any potential fittings in the kitchens and bathrooms. It is important that both buyers and sellers check this document.
A copy of your title – If you hold the deeds to your property then you will have to source these yourselves, or, alternatively, you can get a copy of your deeds from the land registry which will cost £7. If you are currently paying off a mortgage then the mortgage provider will be contacted to provide these documents.
Contract of sale – This short document is usually prepared by the seller’s lawyer, and contains information such as the address and price of the property, as well as the addresses of the buyers and sellers of the property. This also acts as the legal agreement between both parties.
After the papers have been completed and sent back to the solicitor, any questions from either party will be addressed and a final completion date will be agreed upon by both parties. This step is usually handled by the estate agents, however, a solicitor may help in speeding up the process.
In this time, the buying party’s solicitor may conduct a variety of searches on the property, to ensure that all information on the forms is complete and correct, and to also advise the buying party about their mortgage needs.
STAGE 2 – EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS
Once a completion date has been chosen, and the buyer’s solicitor is happy that any necessary checks are completed and appropriate financing is in place, the exchange of contracts can begin. This is an important step as it ties both parties into the transaction of the property. This is highlighted with a deposit being paid by the buyer for 10% of the purchase price of the property.
After this step, the completion date is finalised. This allows the conveyancing solicitor to ensure there is enough time to draw down any funds from mortgage lenders, obtain any final statements and obtain any rent and service charges from the landlord if the property is subject to these. This part of the process can take up to a week, however, with most processes it can be both longer or shorter.
STAGE 3 - COMPLETION OF SALE
Once the completion date arrives, the buyer’s solicitor will arrange for the transfer of funds to the seller’s conveyancing solicitor. The buyer’s solicitor will usually have these funds the day before the completion day to ensure there are no complications with payment to be dealt with on the day itself. As soon as the conveyancer receives the funds, the selling party will move out of the house, handing the keys to the estate agent, to be passed on to the buyers when the transfer of money has been completed.
Once the seller’s conveyancer has these funds, they will pay the remaining balance off the mortgage, pay any outstanding estate agent fees and the conveyancer will take their own fees, as well as any other costs incurred during the process. Once these debts are paid, the remaining money is handed over to the client and the transaction is complete. All that remains is for the estate agent to hand over the keys for the property to the buyers.
Your Personal Beginner's Guide to Conveyancing
The conveyancing process can be a relatively pain-free experience, and a professional, skilled conveyancing solicitor will ensure this process is as stress-free as possible; on hand to guide you every step of the way.
If you'd like to know more about the conveyancing process in more detail, our residential conveyancing team are experts in their field. Get in touch with us to learn more.